Oldest hearth found in Israel

The humans have discovered fire over a million years ago but when did they exactly start cultivating it and use it as a tool, said Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

In a related discovery, a team of researchers has uncovered a 300,000-year-old fire pit in Israel which is considered to be the oldest hearth. Scientists say, the fire pit was used by the prehistoric humans to roast ancient meats.

“This is a major discovery that will help in understanding an important turning point in the development of human culture. The study will help in knowing about humans and how they first used fire and included it in their fooding habits for cooking meat and as a focal point – a sort of campfire – for social gatherings,” Shahack-Gross said in a press release.

ancient hearth

He further said that the newly found hearth, “can also tell us something about the impressive levels of social and cognitive development of humans living some 300,000 years ago.”

The researchers carried infrared spectroscopy on thin slices of the hearth and studied them under the microscope

Researchers Avi Gopher and Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University found presence of bits of bone and soil in the ash. The scientists have also found tiny but clear layers in the ash. According to the scientists, these layers suggest that the area had been the site of a large hearth that was used over and over again.